Osterhout Design Group has been building smart glasses for military use for the past six years. However, with the popularity of wearable devices like the Google Glass, the company is planning to make their R-6 Smart Glasses available in commercial market, so that common consumers can use it and get the benefits.
In 2015, the company plans to launch the consumer-friendly version of their glasses, which they can get at a price of less than $1,000. The consumer version of the glasses offers the same features like the military-grade specs that have been developed. You will be able to watch HD videos and record them as they project scenes over the physical world. This version will be 20 percent lighter and 30 percent smaller than the military version. The smart glasses released by ODG in 2014, are more robust and designed to fit with the specifications of military equipment and costs approximately $5,000.
Specifications of R-6 Smart Glasses
ODG’s augmented reality glasses run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor. It has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and global navigation satellite system integrated in it. A customized version of Android is used as the operating system for these smart glasses. The modification in the OS has been done to avoid unnecessary functionalities to start up. For example, it can stop an Android update button to pop up right in front of your eyes when you are driving down the road wearing these glasses. The battery can last for one or two hours or even an entire day on one charge, depending on the usage.
Functionalities of the Smart Glasses
The functionalities are almost similar to that of a tablet. You can watch a movie on the glasses and the experience will be somewhat similar to seeing a HD movie on a 65 inch TV. The glasses can track the movement of your head. This means, you can find yourself in a video feed or a 3D picture like you would, when wearing a pair of virtual reality glasses. What’s even better is that the virtual reality world is less baffling than the Oculus Rift. While wearing ODG’s glasses, you can still see objects surrounding you.
ODG believes that the augmented reality glasses that they have created, is somewhere between the virtual reality headset of Oculus and Google Glass. According to Nima Shams, the vice president of ODG, “You can’t watch a movie or browse the Internet on Google Glass. Even developing for it, it’s not standard Android, you have to do pages methodology. And on the other end of the spectrum is Oculus. It’s immersive, you get lost, but you’re not able to see through and it’s not mobile. You need a hefty PC. ODG falls in the middle.”
Releasing Own Developer Kits
The company will be launching its own developer kits for third-party app developers, so that they can start creating applications for the AR glasses. ODG has already created apps for its glasses, though it is expecting a developer community to start working on that. One of the apps that the company created was a facial recognition software piece for military forces which could scan a crowd and get notifications if they found someone of interest.
Competitors of ODG
The biggest competitor of ODG’s glasses so far in the military and industrial space is the smart glasses from Epson Moverio. The glasses from Epson have been designed specifically so that they can be used for industrial purpose. Their weight is on the heavier side which makes it difficult for general use by everyday consumers.
The market for eye wearables might be starting, but ODG believes that the glasses will find a good market among regular consumers and will even surpass its demand in the military contract business.
According to Pete Jameson, the executive vice president of ODG, “The adoption of technology is faster in the consumer world. When I sell a tool to an enterprise, it has to have a proven return on investment. The adoption is longer. With consumers, it’s about if this is cool. Investment decisions take 30 seconds.”
Popularity of Augmented and Virtual Reality Glasses
In the past year, the popularity of augmented and virtual reality glasses has soared. Oculus Rift and Google Glass were on the forefront of this category. While Google Glass started out as a popular gadget, it soon fizzled out due to its delay in release in the consumer market. Oculus Rift’s popularity increased even more when Facebook acquired the company citing that virtual reality will be the next best thing after mobile. Recently, Magic Leap has been making news because of the investment it has received from Google and Qualcomm to develop an augmented reality headset.
However, it is still not easy to think that people will wear these headsets casually while they do their regular work. At this moment, Google Glass and other AR glasses are more suitable for use in the enterprise sector. Companies like Boeing have already started using this technology to make the work easier and faster for their employees. There are numerous ways in which augmented reality can be used to fix complicated machinery or buildings. You don’t have to use your hands or look away to use the manuals. The glasses pull up the manuals right in front of your eyes.
As of now, ODG has started to sell its augmented reality glasses into these types of industrial environments. This will make it gradually popular for use in daily life. Jameson said “Today, we’re very focused, and have been focused, on government applications and are now expanding into enterprise and industry. This is a tool that helps change workflows and keeps people safe.”
The first military version of the R-6 Smart Glasses can be bought from the website. The second version with Qualcomm technology will be available for preorder sometimes this year. The consumer version of the glasses will also be available in 2015, but the price will be much lesser than the military-grade glasses.
Do you think these augmented reality glasses will be helpful for everyday consumers? Are you going to try out the consumer version of R-6 Smart Glasses? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Source – linuxidc.com
Article Source – forbes.com